Written bySusannah Cole Hamilton and Erika Coertzen, thank you for your great work !

16 nompilos (community health workers), peer educators, home-based carers and community workers from the Hoedspruit, Phalaborwa and Tzaneen areas were trained as TRE Community facilitators. TRE (Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises) is a method to help release tension stored in the body due to stress, anxiety, trauma. TRE can be used in crises and after accidents as emergency interventions but is mainly taught as a self-help tool with the aim of bringing the body and mind back into balance, thereby improving overall health.

Over a period of 6 months Dr. Erika Coertzen, a doctor of integrative medicine from Tzaneen, trained participants, culminating in a graduation celebration on 4 October 2018 at Hlokomela.

It has long been Dr. Erika Coertzen’s dream to spread TRE to the rural communities where people have little access to mental health facilities. In a pilot project, Hlokomela in Hoedspruit hosted 8 training days where participants, selected by three NGO’s, learnt how the body responds to stress and trauma and how to alleviate the symptoms. These 3 NGO’s, Hlokomela, CHoiCe Trust and Anova Health Institute, have been working with TRE for a number of years and have seen such positive results that they decided to support this project. Funding was, as always, a difficulty and the costs the NGO’s could not cover were raised through private and corporate sponsoring.

The participants soon felt the benefits of TRE on their own bodies and thoroughly enjoyed the course days. There was a wonderful sense of connection in the group and attendance was almost perfect. The feedback has been astonishing as most participants reported improvements in sleep, anxiety, irritability, digestion, aches and pains and energy levels after 6 months of practicing TRE.

Equipped with donated yoga mats and blankets these new TRE Community Facilitators will go out and facilitate TRE with people who’ve experienced some form of trauma and teach it to as many people as possible as a self-help tool to support them in coping with their life circumstances.

The pilot was a resounding success and the course will be repeated next year, spreading TRE further in our communities to counteract the effects of trauma and stress, improving the mental and physical health of the population.

The first community TRE class and training team.

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For more information contact Susannah Cole-Hamilton: tre.limpopo@gmail.com